Monday, December 07, 2009

Cliff Notes on Climategate

UPDATE: below

The best single summary of the leaked CRU data called Climategate is Steven Hayward's "Scientists Behaving Badly" in the December 14th Weekly Standard:
The emails--more than 1,000 of them--reveal a small cabal of scientists who, in the words of MIT's Michael Schrage, engaged in "malice, mischief and Machiavellian maneuverings." In an ironic twist, one of the frequent correspondents in this long e‑trail (University of Arizona scientist Jonathan Overpeck) warned several of his colleagues in September, "Please write all emails as though they will be made public." Small wonder why. It's being called Climategate, but more than one wit is calling them "the CRUtape Letters."

As in the furor over Dan Rather's fabricated documents about George W. Bush's National Guard service back in 2004, bloggers have been swarming over the material and highlighting the bad faith, bad science, and possibly even criminal behavior (deleting material requested under Britain's Freedom of Information Act and perhaps tax evasion) of a small group of highly influential climate scientists. As with Rathergate, diehard climate campaigners are repairing to the "fake but accurate" defense--what these scientists did may be unethical or deeply biased, they say, but the science is settled, don't you know, so move along, nothing to see here. There are a few notable exceptions, such as Guardian columnist George Monbiot, who in the past has trafficked in the most extreme climate mongering: "It's no use pretending that this isn't a major blow," Monbiot wrote in a November 23 column. "The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. .  .  . I'm dismayed and deeply shaken by them. .  .  . I was too trusting of some of those who provided the evidence I championed. I would have been a better journalist if I had investigated their claims more closely." Monbiot has joined a number of prominent climate scientists in demanding that the CRU figures resign their posts and be excluded from future climate science work. . .

The behavior of the CRU circle has cast a long shadow over the entire climate science community, and many honest scientists will now undeservedly bear the stigma of Climategate unless a full airing of the issues is conducted. Other important climate research centers with close ties to the CRU--including NASA's Goddard Institute and the Climate Change Science Program at NOAA--should not be exempt from a full-dress investigation. . .

Under the pressure of Climategate, the CRU has finally agreed to release its raw data and computer codes. But now we learn that some of the raw data have been lost, and while Jones should be asked blunt questions about whether he made good on his threats to delete data, it is possible that the data were lost through sheer sloppiness. The most devastating document in the CRUtape letters may be not the egregious emails that have drawn most of the public attention but the detailed notes of a CRU programmer, Ian "Harry" Harris, assigned the task of sorting out the handling of the raw data and computer files. . .

No drug company could get through the FDA approval process with data handling this slapdash, yet the climate policy process contemplates trillions of dollars in costs to economies around the world based partially on this incompetent work. Worse, it suggests the possibility that the CRU circle might not be able to replicate its own findings from scratch, let alone outside reviewers. . .

Climate change is a genuine phenomenon, and there is a nontrivial risk of major consequences in the future. Yet the hysteria of the global warming campaigners and their monomaniacal advocacy of absurdly expensive curbs on fossil fuel use have led to a political dead end that will become more apparent with the imminent collapse of the Kyoto-Copenhagen process. I have long expected that 20 or so years from now we will look back on the turn-of-the-millennium climate hysteria in the same way we look back now on the population bomb hysteria of the late 1960s and early 1970s--as a phenomenon whose magnitude and effects were vastly overestimated, and whose proposed solutions were wrongheaded and often genuinely evil (such as the forced sterilizations of thousands of Indian men in the 1970s, much of it funded by the Ford Foundation). Today the climate campaigners want to forcibly sterilize the world's energy supply, and until recently they looked to be within an ace of doing so. But even before Climategate, the campaign was beginning to resemble a Broadway musical that had run too long, with sagging box office and declining enthusiasm from a dwindling audience. Someone needs to break the bad news to the players that it's closing time for the climate horror show.
Will anyone notice? The U.N.'s IPCC supports an investigation. But CBS, NBC and ABC news have (with one exception) boycotted the story. And the WaPo slants the data by charting temperature change with a bogus high "estimate" for 2009. So much for dissent being patriotic. Further, President Obama's doubled-down on a treaty. Meanwhile, other policymakers could be captivated by Danish prostitutes' offer of free services for Copenhagen delegates.

Could media silence plus phony consensus best fact and science?


See also Berman Post on hiding the decline. Coyote Blog concludes that "nearly 85% of the reported warming in the US over the last century is actually due to adjustments and added fudge-factors by scientists rather than actual measured higher temperatures." Similarly, software systems engineer AJ Strata says the raw data prior to CRU adjustments reveals that "75% of the globe has not seen significant peak warming or cooling changes between the period prior to 1960 and the 2000’s which rise above a 0.5°C threshold, which is well within the CRU’s own stated measurement uncertainties o[f] +/- 1°C or worse."

(via reader Doug J., Wolf Howling, Berman Post, Maggie's Farm)


OBloodyHell said...

> Worse, it suggests the possibility that the CRU circle might not be able to replicate its own findings from scratch, let alone outside reviewers. . .

Not to worry -- I'm sure they can fudge it....


OBloodyHell said...

from Fausta:

Emitting carbon in Copenhagen

Fausta has some nice observations about the
"Do As We Say and Not As We Do...OR ELSE" crowd --

Andrew Gilligan reports from the summit zoo:
Copenhagen climate summit: 1,200 limos, 140 private planes and caviar wedges
Copenhagen is preparing for the climate change summit that will produce as much carbon dioxide as a town the size of Middlesbrough.


As it turns out there aren’t enough limos on Denmark to meet demand, so they’re bringing them from Germany and Sweden:

Ms Jorgensen reckons that between her and her rivals the total number of limos in Copenhagen next week has already broken the 1,200 barrier. The French alone rang up on Thursday and ordered another 42. “We haven’t got enough limos in the country to fulfil the demand,” she says. “We’re having to drive them in hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden.”

And why bother flying coach?

The airport says it is expecting up to 140 extra private jets during the peak period alone, so far over its capacity that the planes will have to fly off to regional airports – or to Sweden – to park, returning to Copenhagen to pick up their VIP passengers.

After, all what good is SAVING THE WORLD if you have to fly along with the plebes or use a (shudder) Prius to get where you're going?